Ahh, the good old days
You call this a storm? Why, when I was a kid, it could be three times as bad as this, and we’d still walk to school. There was no such thing as a “snow day” – a few feet of snow and ice simply made crossing town more of an adventure. Even on a fine day, Doris M. Patton was a good 20-minute walk. Which leads me to my next point — kids today don’t walk enough. Harrumpphh.
Of course, my mom probably though my generation was soft and had it easy (we did – in those days, you could get a decent, well-paid job with a high-school graduation diploma and some gumption).
Mother Dearest (born 1922) grew up in Manchester, England without the benefit of electric refrigeration which is, apparently, the topic of this entry.
Not so very, very long ago, food was kept cooled in ice boxes: literally metal or wooden (bar-fridge size) boxes chilled by ice that had been harvested — in this part of the world — from Lake Simcoe, Lake Wilcox and smaller bodies of water, such as Grenadier Pond in High Park. A fellow in a truck would come around to your home and sell you fresh ice. Cute, right?
If you’re a history nerd, you’ll enjoy looking at pics of one such company — the Grenadier Ice and Coal Company circa 1915 on Toronto Reference Library’s most excellent virtual archive (Who knew there was such a thing?)
Blocks themselves were stored in big wooden structures, called — appropriately enough — ice houses. A Lake Simcoe ice house was beautifully transformed into a living/gallery space by Charlie Pachter. (Whom I interviewed with Margaret Atwood in the eighties, btw. I think he was opening Gracie’s Restaurant. One of the highlights of this ink-stained wretch’s career, for the record, even though I think we mostly talked about me.)
Later ice was manufactured and chemical coolants in a new gen of electric fridges turned ice boxes into antiques (which you can find at flea markets, vintage stores and such online sites as Kijiji.)